A month and a half ago (when I was on my business starting kick and was excited about upcoming Adoption month), I mentioned to my friend Breanna about some of the great things God had been doing in my life. She encouraged me to write for her online magazine- Inside Out, which also became her Senior Project. I was really excited to write my story, although nervous to be seen as a radical- God has given me ups and downs and each event, whether good or bad, has been used by God is amazing ways. I relaized that God doesn’t have to make sense to us, and that I love this crazy miraculous life! When I read my post compared to the others, I almost started crying. They were all so good, and mine was…not. Then I felt God tell me to resist the lies. He humbled me and told me- these things I have blessed you with are not your doing, but mine. It is my story and you are my instrument. So, without further ado, here is my story, along with amazing testimonies of young people being changed by God. I will post it here, but you can also view the magazine at the link below. Be blessed always friends 🙂
I guess you could say my story started in a little town in Northeast Indiana. The happiest years of my childhood were spent there in a beautiful blue and white mobile home with my father, mother, and three siblings. Life was simple- my father went to work while my mother enjoyed being a stay-at-home mother, and we all piled in the mini-van on Sundays to get to church. It was an easy life. Growing up there, there was no reason to be unhappy. We may have been on the lower end of the middle class, but it didn’t matter: we were loved and we loved each other.
At the same time, I’ve always called myself “sensitive”. I am. As a baby, I wouldn’t get into any trouble because a stern threat from my mom or dad would make me burst into tears. I hate making people upset. I get sick when I find myself in an argument. I told myself for years that everyone was right- I needed to toughen up, grow a backbone, etc. I always felt ashamed. Why am I like this?
It wasn’t until fourth grade that things started changing in my life. I started a new school in Pennsylvania. My classmates thrived on the latest gadgets, travel plans, and parties. Envy filled these years. “Why can’t I do those things? Why can’t I have that kind of life? Why can’t I embrace that? Being a Christian in public high school made me feel so different. I was shy and sensitive. I was nurturing and heavy-hearted.
Thankfully, God had better plans than my self-pity.
The year I turned 16, God took my life and changed it completely around. August 17th of 2009 was one of the worst days of my life. My family and I had just come back from visiting friends in Indiana. I had been begging my dad to go biking with me, and he agreed to go this Sunday. At this point in my life, I had little to actually be concerned about. My parents would always be there to take care of me. I was halfway between high school and college.
Then, the accident. I walked home as an adult that day while my dad started five months of treatment for a brain injury. I needed to become the adult God wanted me to be. I cried to God several nights for my father’s healing. In return, He showed me something even bigger than myself.
I had a specific dream one night. I was being moved to Romania, where I would learn how to re-live life. I was given a burlap dress; it looked like a beat up, ugly brown sack. My life was now here, and I and to re-learn how to live it.
I tried to forget this dream, but it kept coming back. This country I’d never heard of started popping up everywhere: books, magazines, websites. After awhile, I decided God must be doing something, as crazy as it was to admit. I started intense research. I fell in love with their culture, and my heart ached for the miserable conditions of orphans. Was this my purpose? I thought, Surely I’m not qualified to be a missionary. Those people are brave. I’m not.
Eventually I found what I’d needed all along: a reality check. The reality was that in Romania and many other places throughout the world, orphans were dying from malnutrition, disease, and filth. Others were simply dying because there just wasn’t enough time for each one to be held and comforted. It hurt. I had been coddled, fed, educated, and loved for the past sixteen years. What would life be like if I had not known that?
This was not an overnight observation; it took many years of prayer and tears for God to show me this direction. Through the struggles and hardships, he brought me out of self-pity and showed me worth and purpose for every tear I cried.
As I write this, I am a senior in college. This summer I had the opportunity to travel to Bogota, Colombia and teach the news of Jesus to orphans there. I held sick children, made lifelong friends, and shared meals with church families. I have a plan for my life, but God has always had a better one. Currently I am pursuing opportunities to learn more about adoption work and early childhood education.
I want to encourage anyone who reads this: if you feel God move your heart, be open to Him. Don’t let the world defeat your spirit. The world may not make sense, but God is constant. Seek His will, and don’t be afraid to try new things. You never know what God may have in store!
I have cried many tears, but this time, they are the joyful kind.